I had an urge for homemade pretzels yesterday but knew it was a long process with two long rises on the dough. I started it around noon today and finally ate my first pretzel at 4:30. If you want to make larger pretzels, don't divide the dough and roll them out to at least 20".
These are nice and chewy. Best served hot from the oven, they are also delicious warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds the next day.
1-1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
1-1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
4-1/2 to 5 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons baking soda
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons coarse salt
Stir the water and honey together in a heat proof measuring cup, microwave for 1 minute or until the water is about 105-degrees. Add yeast, whisk together and allow to proof for 5 minutes.
Place the salt and flour and in bowl of standing mixer equipped with dough hook. With the mixer on low, slowly add the honey/water/yeast mixture. Increase the speed slightly and mix the dough for 10 minutes, adding an additional ½ cup of flour if dough is too sticky.
Put dough on a lightly floured counter and form into a smooth ball. Coat a large mixing bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat in the oil. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and allow rise at room temperature for 1 to 1-1/2 hours (depending upon room temperature) until it has doubled in size.
Gently deflate the dough. Re-cover and allow to continue to rise for another hour until it has doubled in size.
Divide the dough in half and place one half in a bag in the refrigerator for later use (can also be frozen at this stage). Cut the remaining dough into 18 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 6” rope, let them rest while you roll the remaining, then roll them out to about 12 to 18”. This extra relaxation time will make them easier to finish rolling. Shape each rope into a pretzel by holding each end, cross them, twist and press down with a drop of water. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Add 6 cups water into a 12-inch skillet. Stir in the baking soda, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Using a spider gently place around 4 pretzels into the boiling water, top-side down for 30 seconds. Using tongs, carefully flip over and boil the second side for another 30 seconds. Remove the pretzels, drain briefly on wire rack, then place back onto the prepared baking sheet.
Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with coarse salt and bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the sheet before baking for another 7 minutes, until the pretzels are well-browned.
Let the pretzels from cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and enjoy!